I was recently invited to participate in a Mexican Potato Trade Mission hosted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee.
The mission included Mexican potato buyers representing major retail grocers and wholesalers throughout Mexico. Tours to the Blanford and Alpine packing sheds, as well as frank and thorough discussions between buyers, growers and shippers, were extremely positive and an important step in obtaining market access for U.S. potatoes beyond the border region into the interior of Mexico. The Mexican buyers were impressed with potato quality and industry capacity.
USDA-APHIS-PPQ is currently in negotiations for potato market access using a neutral third-party mediator with its Mexican counterparts, SAGARPA-SENASICIA. Both countries are to be commended for their professionalism and commitment to the process.
The first round of negotiations involved presentations of evidence by Mexico and the U.S. A second round is scheduled in mid-July where appropriate mitigation measures, communication and information exchange will be addressed. The final resolution round will occur in early August.
USDA, CDA and the U.S. potato industry have made market access into the interior of Mexico for U.S. potatoes a top priority. USDA and SAGARPA are committed to utilizing sound science to determine market access.